What not to feed your pets

WASHINGTON — Pet owners may be tempted to allow their pets to indulge on
some of the many snacks, treats and feasts that will adorn our tables this
holiday season.

But there are plenty of human foods that aren’t just unhealthy for cats and
dogs but could be lethal, says Dr. Katy Nelson, WTOP’s Dr. Pawz.


Chocolate contains a compound known as
, which is part of the caffeine family. But dogs don’t
process these compounds well, Nelson says.

Chocolate can cause cardiac and neurological abnormalities, seizures or even

Keep chocolate completely away from dogs, especially dark chocolate, she says.

Macadamia nuts

These nuts, which can be hidden in some store-bought cookies, are not deadly
in normal concentrations. But they can cause neurological problems. A
veterinarian can help any pet that’s consumed these nuts.

Onions and Garlic

These root vegetables can cause clotting problems in pets, especially cats.

Foods that are flavored with these products can also be a concern, but so are
home-cooked foods with freshly chopped onion and garlic, including guacamole
and turkey stuffing, Nelson says.


Xylitol is a sugar alcohol used in sugar-free products such as gum and
baked goods. It can severely depress the blood sugar in pets, Nelson says.

“Don’t take this lightly. This is definitely something to get to the emergency
room pronto,” Nelson says.

Grapes and Raisins

These fruits can cause kidney failure in pets, although researchers don’t know

“Even in small concentrations, for certain pets, this can be fatal,” Nelson

Uncooked bread dough

Uncooked bread dough rises and expands, especially in a warm environment —
such as inside your pet’s stomach.

Eating uncooked bread dough might not be fatal, but it could cause major
problems for pets, Nelson says.

Holiday dinner table scraps

Food on the Thanksgiving dinner table tends to be high in fat: turkey skin,
anything with a lot of butter, or marshmallows on those sweet potatoes.

All that fat can upset a pet’s gastrointestinal tract, which isn’t accustomed
to all those drippings. But that fatty food could also lead to pancreatitis.

Also, turkey bones can fracture or puncture the GI tract or cause mouth
problems, Nelson says.

She recommends not giving pets turkey bones or chicken bones.

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